Martha, Eric, and George

Margery Sharp

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Another of Sharp’s witty novels. This is the third and final novel in the Martha series, and I loved it. Martha may seem heartless and concerned only with her career as a painter, but she meets her match in George, her 10-year-old son, whom she abandoned as an infant. Her love affair with Eric (whose real attraction was a full bathroom) resulted in an infant, whom she left on Eric’s doorstop and disappeared. Unable to shake Eric, she has to deal with him and her son, who has a strange appeal for her. She has to decide how much she will allow him to interfere with her life as a successful painter.

I really enjoyed this novel. Martha should be a unsympathetic character, yet if she were a man, her dedication to living the life of a painter would not be unusual. It is because she is a woman and a mother that we judge her differently. This novel challenges our assumptions about maternity and careers, while entertaining us. One of Sharp’s best.

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